Eighinger: What? The Internet isn't working? Beware of Sunday afternoon meltdown

Posted: Jun. 15, 2011 10:44 am Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 10:41 am

The Little Woman and I had just returned home from church last Sunday when the world -- as I know it -- threatened to come to a screeching halt.

It was a few minutes after noon. There was time to get my clothes changed, check my email and grab a bite to eat before the NASCAR race from Pocono filled my afternoon. The sun was shining outside and the family dog had that boy-I'm-glad-you're-home-what's-for-lunch look on her smiling, drooling face.

Life was good.

Then I came to the "check my email" part of the pre-race itinerary.

Just as I was heading toward my computer, I heard the Little Woman's voice from another room where she was about to undertake the same task on her own computer.

"Is your Internet working?" I heard her say.

Those are probably the words I fear hearing the most in my house. There are two reasons why:

º My whole life revolves around the computer and Internet.

º And, after all these years, I still know nothing about a computer, except how to look stuff up, send emails and -- if I'm lucky -- open up "Word" to write stories in that fashion, when needed.

Attachments? No can do. High peg J-rezzes? No clue. Downloading? I haven't a prayer.

If a computer issue arises at home, I can call my son-in-law, David, who is a computer genius and can usually talk me through a lot of problems on the phone.

Or I can have a meltdown.

Every time I have a technology problem like this, the song "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell comes to mind. There's a line in that song that says "You don't know what you got ‘til it's gone."

I have become so attached to the Internet that when it is not available, I break out in a nervous, cold sweat.

Those with their Internet through Comcast were without their link to the outside world much of Sunday because of some mudslide in Katmandu or somewhere. I immediately called the son-in-law, and thanks to caller ID, the first words I hear at the other end of the line were, "Your Internet's down isn't it, Steve?"

"Yes," I said. "Can you fix it?"

David politely told me it was a Comcast issue and it might be close to midnight before the problem was resolved.

Midnight? That was almost 11 hours away. I had things I needed to do. I had fantasy baseball teams to monitor, I had work that needed done, stories to transmit, information to send out of town.

My wife sensed the impending meltdown and suggested I try a place that had free Wi-Fi, which I totally do not understand, but I know if you go to a Wi-Fi place with a laptop, you can access the Internet.

So I packed up and headed to Village Inn, which I remembered had Wi-Fi. I got there, got hooked up ... but still no Internet. Oh well. While I was there I had strawberry crepes, bowl of fruit, some bacon, toast and a soft drink.

Then I headed to Quincy Raceways, because I thought I remembered hearing one night out there that wireless Internet access was available. So I drove halfway to Liberty, but was again denied. No wireless access was to be had at the Broadway Bullring. I must have dreamed that one, but a friend who works there told me to try one of the McDonald's restaurants.

So I drove back into Quincy, stopped at the golden arches near the mall -- and voila! I had contact again with the outside world.

I stayed there about an hour, got all my work done and information sent that I needed.

I headed back out to Quincy Raceways to cover the races that night, not getting home until about 10:30 p.m. As soon as I set foot in the back door, I made a beeline to find the Little Woman. I came upon her relaxing, with her laptop opened and staring at the screen. Good news or bad?

"Is the Internet back?" I asked

She looked at me and nodded approvingly. However someone "fixes" the Internet, it had been done.

The world -- as I know it -- had returned to normal.



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